Group interviews – Do’s and Don’ts

Group interviews … to companies they are an effective way to identify promising candidates and begin the screening process is in a group interview.

To candidates… they evoke either your flight or fight response depending on your previous experiences and believe me, I’ve heard some tales. But on the whole, they are a good way to compare and contrast candidates also demonstrate how each individual works as part of a team, and how they perform under pressure.

Here in a TWO-PART series…

The Do’s (inception horn)

And the Don’ts (inception horn)


Arrive early

When you are competing against a number of other candidates, it is important you make the most of every opportunity to stand out –and not be remembered for the wrong reasons.

Aside from being punctual and courteous, arriving ahead of schedule has another unique advantage in this situation. At a group interview, you can expect to be monitored from the moment you enter the building, so the earlier you arrive, the longer you have to impress. It also allows you to interact with other candidates in a less formal setting, showing off your social skills.

However, always bear in mind that there is such a thing as arriving too early. Getting there before the security guard won’t win you any bonus points.

Remember the icebreaker

Before any of the actual tasks begin, you’ll almost always be asked to provide some sort of introduction for yourself (or worse, some sort of introduction for someone else in the group). To avoid embarrassing situations, always prepare your answer beforehand. Your intro needn’t be long, provided it’s pertinent and engaging.

Sit up straight

Body language can make all the difference. Do it right, and you will appear attentive and alert, showing your interviewers that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing as the interview progresses and showing that you are comfortable. But you needn’t let your attitude affect your posture. So try and sit up straight wherever possible. Just remember to breathe occasionally…

Prepare questions

If you’ve prepared for your interview correctly, you should have carried out plenty of research about what the company does and its position within the market. Always use this to your advantage during the obligatory ‘any other questions’ portion of the interview.

However, if you genuinely can’t think of anything to bring up for discussion, don’t force it. Asking an irrelevant question just for the sake of asking one is more transparent than you may think.

Include everyone/Be inclusive – Although your leadership skills are being assessed, don’t be tempted to go overboard. One of the most important facets of leadership is the ability to ensure everyone’s opinions are heard, not just voicing your own.

If there’s an introvert in the group, getting them involved in the task and encouraging them to participate will win you major points, both with your fellow candidates and with your interviewers.

Other things to do: Praise others’ ideas, take notes, dress appropriately, smile.

Think you have Group interviews down?

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